Simon and the Sinner
August 21 - Nº 233 Luke 7:36-50
A man named Simon (not Simon Peter, the disciple) was one of the leaders of the Pharisees in Galilee. He was intent on discrediting Jesus. He was looking for a way to prove that Jesus was not the Messiah as he claimed to be. One day he invited Jesus to have dinner in his home. As a Pharisee, Simon was probably quite wealthy. The houses at that time were often built with an open courtyard in the middle. When a rabbi came to dinner, other guests would be allowed to gather around the outside of the courtyard to listen as he taught. This may explain how a particular woman with a very bad reputation made it into Simon’s home that day. She had heard that Jesus would be there, and she wanted to meet him. She showed up carrying an alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. When the woman walked in, Jesus was already reclining at the low table with his feet behind him. She went over to him, stood behind him, and started to cry. Soon his feet were wet from her tears. Since she didn’t have a towel, she knelt and wiped them with her hair. Then she kissed his feet and poured the expensive perfume on them. That upset Simon. He thought to himself, “This proves that Jesus is not who he claims to be. If he was a prophet, he wouldn’t let her touch him, because he would know that she is a sinner!” Jesus knew what Simon was thinking. He said, “Simon, let me tell you a parable. Two men borrowed money from the same banker. One owed 500 denarii (the salary for about a year and a half), and the other owed 50 denarii (about two months’ salary). Neither one was able to pay back his loan, which meant that both of them would be sold as slaves to pay off their debts. But the banker decided to cancel what they owed and set them free. Which one do you think will love him more?” Simon answered slowly, “I guess it would be the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You are absolutely right,” Jesus replied. Then he asked Simon an obvious question: “Do you see this woman?” (Of course, he had! Everyone in the room had seen her! They couldn’t help it!) “I came into your house and you didn’t offer me any water to wash my dusty feet, but this woman wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t welcome me with the customary ‘kiss of peace,’ but this woman hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I walked in. You did not put oil on my head to freshen me up, but she has poured oil on my feet. Yes, she has many sins, but because of her love they have all been forgiven. You don’t show that kind of love because you are not willing to admit that you need to be forgiven.” Jesus looked straight at the woman and said, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others sitting around the table were shocked. They began whispering to each other, “Who is he? Does he have the right to forgive sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you—go in peace!”
Are you willing to show your thankfulness for what Jesus did for you on the cross in deep and meaningful ways like the sinful woman did? Or are you callous and aloof like Simon—unwilling to admit who Jesus is and what he did for you?